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Matthew,

We tried to invite you to the gin-tasting party the first time, and it didn't work out - you had a work function. We missed you, but these things happen.

We should have invited you the second time, but we ended up inviting two other folks instead of you and the Dolan, and it didn't work out. A shame, because when you told me about the Gun Club, I wanted to learn more - and to pour you some. And to get to know you better, but I never will, now, I guess.

I'll just always know you as that guy at the parties with the dapper suit, the inevitable cocktail, the calm, genial presence who was always up for educating a former welfare brat curious about the martini or the brandy poured into the punch. Or I'll remember the story about you sticking a champagne cork in Suzy's mouth at a house party in some distant, never to return past. Or as Dann's ramen buddy and brother.

There's a lot of people with broken hearts now, and I don't know how I feel. Don't know how I'm supposed to feel. Is there a should for this? My lover is broken-vouched from crying, and I'm too far away right now. I half expect to walk into a room and find you with a cocktail in hand, even though I know I won't.

And now I never will again.

I'll miss you, man. And I don't think I'll ever understand.

Pride goeth before a fall, I know this, but apparently it still isn't a lesson I've learned. Normally my children wake up when we tell them it's time to start getting ready for school, they stumble out of bed, bitch about whatever breakfast is being served, scramble to get dressed, and fly out the door at the very last possible second. So I was rather proud of them this morning when the door slammed before 6:30, and I looked through the window to see both of my children outside with their bikes. I've been trying to reduce the amount of food we waste. Last night I stayed up late making asparagus, cauliflower, a bag of frozen vegetables, frozen peas, and squash. There are three apples left, an orange, there's food to eat, but not the food they want to be eating. I made smoothies for supper last night, the girls complained about them, I thought they were great, so I drank theirs and mine.

After the girls left, I noticed that my purse was out on the counter, and my wallet was visible. I thought that was strange, normally I put my purse on the table, but I do occasionally leave it on the counter. I didn't think I had left my wallet exposed like that, when I went to count my cash, I thought I was missing twenty dollars. Sure enough, when I found my receipt for groceries I had bought the other day, and counted my money again, I was missing twenty dollars. On the way to school is a gas station that my girls have stopped at in the past. When I called, the woman who answered the phone reported that two very polite little blonde girls had just finished paying for their purchases with a twenty dollar bill. I hung up feeling very disappointed, sent my husband a text, and went to count the money that he keeps in a desk drawer. The money is from a vending machine he stocks, and it's easier to get away with taking a couple dollars from a stack of singles than it is to take larger sums from your mother's purse.

I counted the money, wrote a note in ink, dated it, and put it in a separate drawer so the adults know how much money is in there. My plan is to not say anything to the girls right away. I have a paycheck to cash. I'm going to stop at the bank, and help myself to money from their accounts. Then I'm going to go to the store, and buy myself some treats. To me a treat is buying the freshest, most wholesome food I can find for my family to feast upon. I'm going to think of a reason to stop at the bank after school. I have the day off, and hopefully the girls will ask if I can sign so they can take money out of their accounts. I haven't decided how much I'm going to take from them, but I want this to hurt because they took my gas and grocery money, and thievery is an abominable trait. The other day my husband thought some of his candy money was missing, but couldn't remember how much he had.

My youngest had a twenty dollar bill to spend, and she is a saver, but normally she gets her allowance in singles, it hasn't been her birthday, and she hasn't gotten any cash from her relatives since she received cards for Valentine's Day. I hate accusing people of things when I don't have proof, but now I'm wondering if her neatly folded twenty dollar bill came from my purse as well because I thought I had twenty-five dollars left, but there was only five dollars in my wallet at the time. I had purchased a book for twenty dollars, like I said, I don't have proof that she's taken money from me in the past, but I'm going to be a lot more careful about it from now on because this is a bad habit that needs to be broken.

In other news, the girl whose mother refused to sign the incident report I wrote was suspended from school for the day after she lied to the people who had questioned her. I forgot to clock in the kids yesterday so someone is going to have to go back into the program and fix my mistakes. I've never done that before, I feel terrible about it, but things happen, and I'm not going to beat myself up over it. A woman whose son is in After School Care is going to be my new workout buddy. We went through the list of classes that the Y offers, and I'm really excited to have a fitness buddy, and an action plan. Her strengths are my weaknesses, and I think we're going to really enjoy our time together doing things that are good for both of us. I've been able to keep my journaling streak going. I had a good writing day yesterday, school is almost out, and I'm so looking forward to more sun and fun this summer.

Take care,

jess

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